Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fruit in the Pantry

In 1912 when J. C. Bernhardt passed away, his second wife Martha Jane, and his youngest son, my grandfather, Ira Leo were living at the homeplace. JC left no will, so the court distributed his property. An inventory of the house and property were made including many interesting items of the time such as a sythe, spinning wheel, wash pot and surveying tools. When all accounting was finished, most of the property went to the widow. This was due to the value placed on items in the inventory and the state ordered widow's portion.

The other brothers and sisters felt that the valuation of the inventory was way too low (and by looking at the inventory, which I have included, I would tend to agree.) The older brothers and sisters thinking that they were due more than the settlement said; went to the house and took what they thought was their fair share.

A law suit was filed by the children of JC and Laura Davis against the estate, stating the settlement was unfair because the property was undervalued. The case was heard and the ruling was that the inventory was a fair valuation of the property. The judge ordered the children of Laura Davis to return all property removed from the homeplace including the fruit taken from the pantry!

Apparently it was a pretty shameful incident in the family, because I have talked to no one of the next generation who had heard of the dispute. I discovered the story in the Estate Settlement papers. The family was able to put the dispute behind them, probably through the good will and good humor that runs in the family; because we are all still speaking to each other!

My grandfather Leo inherited the property from his mother Martha Jane. I have a number of the items included in the inventory still at the house today; except, I have looked and the fruit is all gone.

In honor of this momentous event in the family history I propose that this year at the reunion all the Leo family descendants bring fruit or vegetables to even up the distribution of property; and perhaps the rest of the family with their 'good will and good humor' could donate the food to Crisis Assistance.

Perhaps this will appease our ancestors and might become an annual tradition for the family!


Karen and Stan McConnell said...

Still at the house when I moved in were the Grindstone @.25; The Hay Rake @ 1.00; 1 Clock @ .50; Cross Cut Saw @ .10; Crib @ .05. For a total of $2.10. Family heritage Priceless!

Liz Miller CDA said...

We do have some great stories in the family. I can't believe the value of some of those items back then.